Chattering Class

Piper Kerman on the Reality Behind ‘Orange is the New Black’

Netflix's hit series "Orange is the New Black" is based on a real-life memoir by Piper Kerman, chronicling her fifteen months spent in prison. She joined us to talk about the reality behind her own Hollywood depiction and how it feels to walk down streets filled with billboards advertising the darkest chapter of her life.

The Un-Flattened View of Richard Nixon

Documentarian Penny Lane delved into an archive of amatuer insider footage never seen by the public - and came away with a different image of Richard Nixon and his cronies than we have generally seen.

Love, Betrayal and Cheese

Journalist Michael Paterniti set out for a small village in Spain to learn about a cheese which was considered the greatest in the world, but what he uncovered once he got there was a rather less savory story.

“Blackfish” Director on Captive Killers

In her new documentary "Blackfish," Gabriela Cowperthwaite tells the story of Tilikum, a killer whale who killed his own trainer and two other humans, and raises questions about the ethics and safety of holding orcas in captivity. She tells Rico why she took on the story, and how these non-whales got their name.

Why Big Star Were Not Big Stars

Filmmaker Drew DeNicola's new documentary, "Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me," examines the story of the celebrated cult band he calls "the ultimate beautiful losers." He schools Brendan about Big Star's rise, fall, and eventual place in the American pop cannon.

Terry Eagleton Analyzes America

UK scholar Terry Eagleton is one of the most influential literary critics in the world, and the author of over two dozen books. His latest is called "Across the Pond: an Englishman's View of America." Just in time for Fourth of July weekend, he tells us exactly what Brits think of us.

Kid-pop stars Imagination Movers on how to impress the tikes

To help us win our next kid-friendly dinner party, we turn to certifiable kid experts The Imagination Movers. The New Orleans-based band has been performing kid-centric pop-rock for almost a decade in sold-out tours and for their Disney Jr. show. Mover Rich and Mover Scott (both fathers, too) enlighten Rico about the wonders of interactivity, make-believe and arena-rock cliches. (The Imagination Movers head out this week on a tour for their just-released Rock-O-Matic album).

The National Lampoon and reshaping American comedy

Journalist and cultural critic Ellin Stein’s newest book, That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick: The National Lampoon and the Comedy Insurgents Who Captured the Mainstream could be called The Funny Pages. Rico gets the lowdown - and some laffs - from Ellin.

Back-up singers in pop music history

What’s a classic pop song without a catchy hook? Darlene Love provided harmonies (and lead lines) on some of the biggest hits of the 1960s - singing with artists from Elvis Presley to Sam Cooke to Sonny & Cher. The new documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom digs into the role of background singers and the struggles they face when they try to break out. Brendan joins Darlene and the film’s director Morgan Neville for a conversation about these under-sung stars.